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July's Journal



18/08/2017
[16:45] Despite getting a semi-early night last night I still managed to feel mdoerately groggy this morning. So much so that my postponed run from yesterday morning didn't really feel like a good option, especially as there was a brief rain shower just before I set out. Still, once I was out and running it was OK, and I got in a good ten miles before making it home again. Last night's meal wasn't sitting all that well, so it was good that I chose the route by the river, which has plenty of places to take a moment to myself. After I got home I had a shower with my freshly bleached shower curtain (my landladies made mention of it yesterday with regard to showing tenants around, so I bleached it in the washer with some white sheets and towels last night) and then headed to work. Happily, work today has been as uneventful as usual. so I've been able to concentrate on getting travel insurance for Kenya/Tanzania, ordering some more compression shorts with a hefty discount, and a good bit of tidying of systems (actual work).

I'm heading home now for the weekend. Rachel will be arriving some time on Saturday (post our respective local parkruns), and then we'll have a wonderful time doing our thing together. Chances are there'll be some more sorting/throwing out/packing of the house here and there, Tesco (hopefully before Rachel arrives), and a couple of longish runs. With luck and a following wind this is the first of the last four weekends I'll be spending in my current house (and Rachel's actual last one given she'll be away for the remaining ones (one of them with me running around the outside of the Isle of Wight)). It's all getting a bit more real now. Although I still do have to buy a fridge freezer...

17/08/2017
[17:15] Neither Rachel or I felt like running this morning. This was partially down to us just being tired, but also in an effort to have a little bit more time together relaxing given that she wasn't able to get to me before quite late last night owing to one thing and another. I think this means I'll go for a rom tomorrow morning rather than this evening as I just can't be bothered now, despite the weather being rather lovely. Additionally it was raining this morning, but we didn't realise until we looked out of the window when we actually got up.

I was pretty grumpy last night when she arrived. I'd say most of it was down to just having had a bit of a useless day, but a tiny part was because I felt some of my evening had been just waiting around. On the plus side (and this is a big plus) I did get a load of paperwork sorted and packed for the move. So thinking about it the waiting around was exactly what I needed after all. I think actually the main reason I was grumpy was that I snacked on too much cheese before Rachel arrived and this gave me a stomach ache. That makes much more sense.

Today at work I've mainly been creating new VMs, updating my RHEL VMs to 7.4, and making sure other stuff is ticking over as it should. Now I need to go home and put the shower curtain in a bleach wash as my landladies are complaining slightly that it's putting off prospective tenants.

16/08/2017
[17:25] I went to bed before 22:00 last night, got a good night's sleep, and still felt moderately groggy this morning. However, knowing I'd had a reasonable period of rest I went out and did ~10 miles of aerobic running before work, and it wasn't too bad. I was quite tired by the end, and I should have got out of my chair more often today to keep from stiffening up quite as much as I have, but it was OK. At work things have been remarkably quiet, which has been nice after the last two days of busy that's been happening after the power cut on the weekend. I've even managed to the sellers of my house and have them prod their conveyancer into waking up and exchanging contracts with mine. This has necessitated that I go and get buildings and contents insurance on the new house before I even actually own it, but there you go. Currently the house and its contents (neither of which are mine) are doubly insured. Oh well.

In more sensible news, Rachel is coming to see me this evening, which is wonderful. We'll have a nice dinner, a relaxing evening, and she may even be able to come running with me tomorrow morning before we go to our respective places of work (her by train, of course). I should head home and see what state my landladies have left the house and shed in given they were showing around another prospective tenant this afternoon.

15/08/2017
[17:55] After an exhausting day mentally, yesterday, I wasn't terribly good company when I got home. However, a few minutes of quiet with a toasted bagel slathered in Nutella and I was (I hope) more pleasant to be around for Rachel. Although I wasn't totally feeling like it we headed out to my old gym and, after being surprised by the price for her to get in, we did a gym session (my first in quite a while). That might account for how groggy and tired I felt when I got up this morning, went to work, and spent most of the first half of the working day. It also meant that I really didn't look forward to my Tuesday lunchtime sprintervals session down at the track about 1km from work. Still, I headed out there and got them done, even if it was only five 800m sprints, rather than the six I'd promised myself. I'll work my way up to six next week, maybe. This week's weren't as fast overall as the week before last's were, either. I'm putting that down to how I was feeling/last night's weights session.

Anyway, the working day continued on this afternoon with me being quite out of my depth with regard to some network/firewall issues we were having. However, one tiny change to the IPS rules seems to have made a huge difference, which everyone is quite happy about. Hopefully that's actually fixed things and there'll be fewer/no complaints tomorrow. I've got another fix in the works for something related, but I can't do all of the changes myself. I'm also only 99.99 percent sure that the fix is actually a postive/working thing, and won't break stuff. At the end of the day though, it's close to 18:00 and our monitoring system is looking better than it has in weeks, so I'm going home.

14/08/2017
[17:35] I returned from a rather good weekend to a bit of a nightmare at work. We had another major power issue over the weekend (which thankfully I wasn't called in on), and I've been clearing up the fallout of it all of today. My coworkers did a lot of the heavy lifting before I got here this morning, but there was still plenty to do, and I'm not done yet. I am, however, going home as soon as I can and leaving the rest for tomorrow. I won't bore you with the myriad things I've done today, but I've felt both victorious and smart, and dumb and unknowledgable by turns.

Over the weekend I spent pretty much all of my time with Rachel, which was fab. Friday night ended with looking at new fridge freezers to buy, a curry, which was delicious, and a good night's sleep. Unfortunately the curry wasn't good for me the following morning and almost caused problems during my parkrun (which I ran pretty much as hard as I could for the first time in months). Luckily everything was OK in the end, but I'm glad I cycled there and back rather than running. After that I headed to Tesco, then to London to meet Rachel, her nephew, and then her brother and sister-in-law. We wandered to the Olympic arena and saw an evening of rather excellent athletics, including Farah and Bolt not quite managing to relive their glory days. We all then walked to a nearby AirBnB place for the night. On Sunday morning we walked to somewhere nice for a rather delcious but overpriced breakfast and then went to the train station to go our separate ways. The remainder of the day back home was spent either doing Isle of Wight preparation, reading, relaxing, going for a quite good hour's run, or having dinner. There then followed another reasonable night's sleep before today's madness.

I'm going home to Rachel again now, and then we might go and see my old gym to see if we feel like rejoining it again. Then home, relaxing, forgetting about the day, and maybe even going to bed before it gets too late. I'm not sure I want tomorrow to come with all its network and server issues, and a sprintervals session at lunch time.

11/08/2017
[16:25] It's now one month until I move house. It's all getting a bit real as I start to sort/pack/throw out a little bit every evening. I think I mentioned I've tried to clear the spare room a bit so my landladies can show around new prospective tenants and get an idea of the amount of space in it. Anyway, those boxes have been redistributed around the house so they don't get in the way too much. I've still got lots to do, but doing a little every few days seems to be the way to go. It's a little like when I packed to send everything ahead of me when I was about to emigrate, only I don't have to worry quite so much that I'm not going to see it all for months. Also it's going to be considerably less expensive... unless you count the cost of the house. So yes, did a bit of packing and stuff last night, or was it the night before. Maybe it was and I just took home a parcel tape gun last night, yes. Anyway, Rachel arrived last night and there was much quiet rejoicing. We had a lovely evening and morning before I had to go to work. At work I've done the things I needed to do, spoken to the people I needed to speak to, and even managed to get the logistics for moving day pretty much pinned down. I'm heading home now to see Rachel again, then we're going fridge freezer shopping, as well as Rachel going for a sports massage while I... I don't know, look at other applicances, or go and get us dinner. Over the weekend we'll be going to see a session of the IAAF World Championships (my first time in the Olympic stadium), I'll be doing a parkrun while Rachel sees her nephew, and then after staying in an AirBnB place after the athletics we'll be coming back home to... I don't know, do some sorting and packing and throwing out, and maybe even going for a run. Then it'll be that annoying Monday thing again. I might even do some RHEL7.4 updates.

10/08/2017
[17:15] Another day when I wake up about an hour too early, and then feel pretty jolly rotten when I actually get up to run. Still, it was a lovely morning, being nice and cool as well as clear of sky. I got in a reasonable 13K or so without breaking the bank in any way, had a shower and a shave and got to work on time. I'd consider that pretty much a win as it goes. Most of the day has been spent evaluating RHEL7.4 and possible issues. I'm not entirely sure how far I've been able progress, but reading the documentation seems to indicate that we shouldn't be affected by (m)any of the changes which have come in.

Rachel arrives this evening, thank goodness. That's what's been keeping me going for the last 24 hours. I spent a good few hours doing some packing, sorting, and throwing out last night. This also included clearing the spare room as much as I could so that the landladies can show it in it's more natural state to prospective tenants. One of the things I discovered when I started clearing the built-in wardrobe thing was a big zip-lock bag in which I'd put all the stuff from Kris that I hadn't thrown away. Notes, letters, cards (including a big pack of credit-card sized ones written on both sides for when she went away to China or the US or somewhere for an extended period), not to mention a little wooden heart and my wedding ring. I'm pleased to report I didn't spend long looking at everything, and also didn't descend into any kind of depression spiral off the back of it. It's just... stuff I still have. I packed it all away into a box (I can't even remember which one now) and got on with things. There's still a lot of packing to do. Hopefully I'll both have enough boxes, and also enough help come moving day to get everything done in reasonable time. I'm taking the day off, but don't imagine anyone else could (or should) do the same. We'll see, I guess!

09/08/2017
[17:00] When I woke earlier than I'd planned this morning I could tell that I wasn't going to feel awesome when I got up for my run. This proved very much to be the case. Consequently I elected to stick with 10km and not push too hard at all. Still recovering from the marathon, and the rain coming down made it not an altogether fantastic experience, but I survived. A hot shower and a home-made smoothie made things a little better. At work I've been dry all day, obviously, but dealing with stupidities and sorting out house stuff has taken its toll somewhat. I'm happy to be going home, even if it's to make a start on sorting the spare room and moving everything I can out of it so it can be shown to prospective new tenants by the landladies (who've given me a hard deadline to move out by, which is a little tight if there are any issues with the contract completion).

08/08/2017
[17:55] Got in early this morning to multi-task some sysadminly stuff. Rebooting a server with some KVM guests on it and tweaking both the BIOS and the iDRAC settings, at the same time as upgrading the PHP and associated gubbins on two other live servers, and getting everything done within the ten minute window I'd allowed for myself was a fun bit of work for the morning. Especially when everything apparently went off without a hitch. I rewarded myself with a very slow and gentle run at lunch time. 10km, keeping my heart rate rigorously below 150bpm (which involved walking a few times up inclines). That meant I didn't finish the run feeling any real kind of tired, and not a complete hot and sweaty mess. Which was nice.

This afternoon I've been concerned with asking friends if they'll be available to help me move house next month (and drive the Big White Van for me too as I've never driven anything larger than a four door car). Also getting confirmation that I should be able to move in when I hoped I could (modulo a few days later owing to completion date having previously been set for a Sunday), and dealing with my solicitor doing their due diligence about the need (or not) for planning permission for the porch that was added to the front of the house by the current owners. Hopefully everything's in order there and the sale can keep on ticking over. I've asked the seller to confirm the details I've found online with regard to what the dimension of the thing are so we can put the issue to bed.

07/08/2017
[17:20] Another one of those excellent and super full weekends. As usual with Rachel working from home it started well as she was there when I got home. The Dell engineer turned up at 16:30 (precise going home time) so a colleague agreed to look after him in the server room rather than me hanging around. I gave him all the information I thought he might need and went home. More on that in a moment. Once home Rachel and I relaxed for the evening. We debated going to Tesco that night, but I just couldn't be bothered, so we didn't. On Saturday morning we slept through the chance to do parkrun so did a gentle 7K or so of our own, then got cleaned up and after I'd been to Tesco we got trains to Croydon. On Sunday morning we were up early and well fed on porridge in good time to head to Lloyd Park for the Vanguard Way Marathon. This is one of the harder trail marathons in the UK as far as I'm concerned, and one that beat me last year owing to my having had mild heat exhaustion the day before (part of back to back long runs in preparation for our first ultra race). This year it was just me, Rachel, and a mildly warm day. Rather than my ultra vest I wore a bottle belt with room for some sustenance and we headed off when the horn went. To cut a long story short, although I was shattered well before half way we managed to keep up a very steady pace (when not walking up or down the very steep contours) and came in well under Rachel's estimation of "a good time", which was marvellous. I had a quick freezing cold shower on site and then we cycled home to eat and relax and complain about our throbbing calves and scratched ankles for the rest of the day. Surprisingly (perhaps) neither of us were feeling all that bad this morning (although I was shattered for the remainder of Sunday, now I think about it) as we got the train into London and went our separate ways. At work I found that the server I'd left in my colleague's hands hadn't quite been set up in the way I'd hope for, so I'm going to have to reboot it tomorrow morning to make some BIOS changes. At the same time I'm going to be doing some PHP upgrades on two other servers, and all that before 08:00. Right now though I'm going home to unpack my bag from the weekend and have some dinner. I also need to think about a new training regime/getting the running club going at the rowing club as I want to get rid of the excess I have and build some muscle again. Although that might affect my running, although perhaps not as much as I was initially concerned about. I think there's a point on the mythical graph where muscle mass/weight and speed cross, and I'm probably nowhere near that. And on the plus side, more muscle might mean more glycogen storage plus better top speed, so both endurance and sprints might benefit. Either way, I'm sick of not being as strong or lean as I have been.

04/08/2017
[15:25] Frustratingly, it seems like the Dell engineer I need isn't going to arrive much before 16:00 today. Which means my hoped-for knocking off time of 16:30 is a rapidly-fading pipe dream. With luck and a following wind he'll arrive early, and everything will go smoothly and quickly, but I doubt it. Anyway, other than that hanging over me not much else has happened today other than having to sort out a few emails regarding yesterday's power cut.

Rachel's been working from home today, and I'd really like to get back to her so we can start the weekend. However, I can't leave until this server has had its visit. Once I am home we can hopefully have a better evening and night than the one I caused last night by being down, again. I'm going to be making an effort, even if perhaps I should just relax and see if that helps get me out of my slump. Anyway, after a hopefully lovely evening there'll be parkrun tomorrow morning (where we definitely won't be pushing too hard, unless Rachel forgets herself again), then home, getting cleaned up, doing the Tesco shop and then heading to Croydon for the remainder of the weekend. This is because on Sunday we'll be running for 5+ hours covering the Vanguard Way Marathon. You may not remember, but last year we were training for an ultra marathon and treated the weekend as two very long runs, back to back. Unfortunately I got a mild case of heat exhaustion on the Saturday and then foolishly tried to run a marathon the next day. Suffice it to say I turned around half way out (it's an out and back course) and completed only a half marathon, and that not too quickly. I was given free entry to this year's race off the back of being the first DNF to return, so I'm on a bit of a mission to do the whole course this year. It'll be Rachel's third finish. We should be running (and walking the steep bits) together. Depending on when we finish and wobble our bikes home to Rachel's house we'll have the remainder of the day to recover somewhat before I head to work from her house on Monday morning. I think that's everything.

Just have to wait for this Dell engineer, and for him to do his thing...

03/08/2017
[17:45] Today was shaping up to be a quiet day. I got up early and ran a sweaty 10km which shouldn't have been as hard as my body seemed to think it was, then had a shower, shave and got into work at a sensible time. Then, at around 10:45 we had a power blip which took out our entire building, as well as one of our server rooms. The server room was protected by a UPS, but we still apparently lost some servers. Then the switchgear failed to notice that the mains power was back... or did, as it didn't start up the generator, but didn't switch us back off the UPS and onto the mains again. Consequently the air-conditioning (which isn't on the UPS) remained off, the UPS battery continued to drain, and it was even odds as to whether the UPS would die, or the room overheat cut-off would activate and kill those servers which had remained up. Happily, by the time I'd started to manually shut down servers someone had run over to the server room, got the air-conditioning running again and eventually got the UPS to see that there was mains power available. I think we had about two minutes left on the battery and 2degC of headroom before the room tripped. The rest of the day has therefore been spent getting things unscrambled, as well as me logging a call for the one server which suffered a terminal issue on account of the power bouncing up and down. I've got an engineer turning up tomorrow with replacement parts for that.

That's about it, I think. Rachel's arriving this evening and working from home tomorrow, so we get a bit more time together than we've had in the last few weeks, which is nice. I should head home myself now and get the place cleaned up a bit.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I also had to deal with some more house purchase stuff today. Indemnity insurance wrangling (not me paying) because the house sellers didn't get the windows fitted by FENSA-certified installers. Just one more minor headache to deal with. Which hopefully has been put to bed now. would

02/08/2017
[17:20] I had a normal dinner, and went to bed at a reasonable time, I got up not too early after an OK night's sleep, and my run wasn't all that hard, after which I had a normal breakfast and gentle cycle to work... and yet once I got to work I felt incredibly ropey for most of the morning, and I can't guarantee I'm feeling one hundred percent right now. Admittedly I think I perspired a bit more than I normally would have for the air temperature and effort I was putting in, but that shouldn't account for how odd I've felt for most of the day. I'm seriously considering not running tomorrow morning if I wake up feeling anything like this. Or at least only doing 10km or so. Given the trail marathon coming up this Sunday (which I attempted last year and failed to complete owing to having had heat exhaustion the day before running into and back out of London with Rachel) I'd like to be in OK shape on the start line. I didn't think yesterday's sprint session was all that extreme.

Anyway, that's how I'm feeling, what I've been doing is the usual work, as well as transferring the deposit for my house purchase via CHAPS from my bank to my conveyancer. It's a healthy chunk of change, so I'm choosing to think of it as a house token, of which I'll need nine more. It's not money I've really seen or had access to for the last half a decade, so it doesn't really have all that much meaning to me.

I'm going to head home now and see if I don't feel better tomorrow morning.

01/08/2017
[16:45] It is 5.5 years since I locked a significant chunk of the money from the sale of my home at the time into a bond, in the belief I would be emigrating to the USA and I wouldn't need it for at least that long (and probably much longer). Today it became available again, and tomorrow most of it will become the deposit on my new house, which I hope to make a new home. It feels like very much - and at the same time almost nothing at all - has changed since I was sitting in the bank making the decision. I had no concept of what would take place over the following five and a half years; I've rowed, run, and cycled perhaps the best I ever will in my life, picked up the pieces of what remained of my life and, with some wonderful help, performed a sort of emotional Kintsukuroi on them to hopefully create a me who can keep doing what I'm doing, or even better. I guess we'll see what happens next.

In other news, I was up early this morning to head to a server room to do a machine reboot. Nothing exciting there. At lunch time I did a rather strenuous sprintervals session, something I'll hopefully be doing somewhat more of as time goes by to get some speed back. A new version of RHEL was released today, so hopefully I'll be taking a look at getting that on a machine or two to test over the next few weeks.